The top 12 tackled the Judge’s choice theme for the first live show of the season, and what an event it was! Let’s dive right in:
What About Tonight tackled another boyband hit The Wanted’s “Glad You Came,” One Direction said they saw themselves in these boys back in homevisits and yes I can see it, but I cannot hear it. One Direction had two things that set them apart from these boys, Liam and Harry, aka two very strong vocalists. From the shaky opening to the boshed harmonies, these boys just aren’t up to snuff to even One Direction’s first performance on the live show of “Viva La Vida.” Is there potential there? Sure, but should Ronan have chosen Black Ivory or Good Question over What About Tonight, very maybe.
Josh Brookes sure does like his headphones, I guess subconscious marketing is a smart decision. See headphones. Vote for Josh Brookes. Repeat. Josh did competently, all I can say at this moment is Josh didn’t benefit from this big production number. Mel B has never been the best with song choices/arrangements and all of her contestants this night I felt had something off. I wish there would’ve been less to no dancers. If Josh wants to stake a claim in the final 3 he is going to have to focus on a more pure vocal performance, yes he has his fans, but there are SO MANY cute boys in this competition, you CAN NOT rely on the Johnny Ruffo contingent from last season to save you.
Angel Tupai delivers the Leona Lewis track “Happy” and she does it well and talented, but I feel like that first verse was just a waste, the chorus she kills it, but I didn’t feel she was connecting with the material. The staging was fierce and exciting, but the stage would have been more apt for an exciting song a la “Dog Days Are Over.” But for this song, an emotionally charged pseud0 ballad, it needed to just be her and that stage. She could’ve delivered it and I wouldn’t have been as distracted. I like Angel and I think she can go far, and her voice is not going to be her downfall, but Natalie and her need to make better song choices to ensure Angel place in the finals. In my mind, looking at the top 12, she SHOULD be a lock for the final 3, but that is if she plays her cards right.
Justin Standley is clearly the emotional story of this season, Justin has been estranged from his children for several years now, and came on to the X Factor in hopes of seeing them again, and just like some Hollywood magic hours after the show went live he was able to meet his daughter Ophelia. Yes, this is a touching story, sure but did he have to go and sing “Father and Son” really. I mean I guess when you have a focus, you have a focus. The thing I see when I Justin is that he is a nice person, with an O.K. voice. I don’t see what this show is about X Factor. This guy may make it to the final 3, but there is no chance for a successful post-show career, and as much as I understand why Guy Sebastian chose Justin for the final 12. I just can’t help but think about how much it could’ve helped someone else actually start a career, instead of wasting our time with this narrative on father exhuming his relationship with his kids. Maybe I am missing something feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments section below!
Fourtunate throughout auditions, bootcamp and home visits have delivered near perfect vocals and harmonies, but on this Maroon 5 Overexposed track, the only time they even sound decent is when only one of them is singing. The good parts are the dancing and the overall cohesive look of the band. The bad parts the song choice and the actual singing. I truly believe that Fourtunate should have been in Ronan’s top 3 groups, but they need to get their act together. I realize that they have a lot of being chanting for them Four-tun-nate Four-tun-nate, which will be good enough to skate them by until maybe 10 or 9, but if they just come back next week and perform at this caliber, I wouldn’t even feel that bad for them if they got eliminated.
Jason Owen is an interesting contestant, I see two futures for him, one where he returns back to his life or another where he can figure out that some psuedo-country/aussie/pop mix c0uld actually make a career for him. Jason is clearly a hard worker and listens to advice, that can be seen, but I don’t see a star. I feel like Mel B chose with her heart when making her final 3 and not so much with her head, but we are here now and if Mel wants to give Jason a chance, find those country songs (especially in a free theme like Judge’s choice) and make it work. Mel has yet to prove to me that she can manage an act properly on this show.
Samantha Jade is downright gorgeous, like almost to a fault. The staging, the dress, the lights, the projectors, the bangs, everything looked perfect. Vocally competent, almost nothing to complain about there. Samantha is a nice girl, but very very very generic. Outside of staying on pitch and looking stunning I don’t hear anything that special. Katy Perry is kind of bland of a singer to begin with, but Samantha sounded even more anonymous then Katy on the track, and yeah that falsetto trick was cool, but I am not connecting with you. Strip it back, make me feel what the song is trying to convey, take me somewhere, you stood still and so did the dynamics of the song.
Another case of Mel B’s mismanagement, Adil Memon, I feel like she ALMOST got this one right. The problem here was Adil had a guitar on stage and he was playing it just fine, but you could clearly tell that there were multiple guitar parts and he wasn’t playing them. Adil would have benefited from this performance just being him and a guitar. Everything exactly the same just less. Adil is adorable, and I am glad he made it to the final 12, but Adil stood out with his abilities when focus was on just him, not on the extra production in the audio background.
The Collective killed it. Nailed it. Honestly, yeah there may have been an off-key run that I heard somewhere in there, but in terms of performance and overall vibe, not only is The Collective the best group on the show, I think they were the best act of the night far and away. I think their presence in the top 3 finale is pretty much guaranteed at this point, along things can happen I said almost the exact same thing about Christina Parie last season. What was good about this performance, their energy, their vocals, their cohesiveness, and their hotness. If these boys cannot sell records, then I don’t know who can.
The staging of this performance made this performance work for Bella Ferraro. The falsetto at the end of this performance did not. The Oohs were the right mix of haunting and cute. Bella is someone that I know I will be excited to see every week she is in the competition. Her voice is so unique, her presence so divine like some angel sent to grace us. Of all the song choices that Natalie made this week, this is the only one that I felt was actually a good choice for her contestant. Matt Corby’s “Brother” is a unique slice of indie-pop which is exactly where Bella needs to be. I am nervous to see how Bella will tackle a dance week or a rock week theme, but that being said I am very curious, it should have all the makings of a train wreck, but I am a bit of an optimist, so I am hoping that in some strange way it actually works.
“Love on Top” will not rank anywhere near the list of my top 20 Beyonce’ songs, so when Nathaniel Williamse tackles it, I cannot say that I was that thrilled. I think I would’ve preferred a bit more Bruno Marsification of this song from Nathaniel and Guy. The way he preformed this was far too camp to be acceptable. Sure his voice sounds impressive, but it can get lost when red and yellow lights are gyrating in your face and you still some how feel bored. The problem with both of Guy’s main acts, Nathaniel and Samantha, is that they are very accomplished singers, but there just seems to be nothing all to special. Ronan constantly harps on how the point of this show is to find an international star and at this moment Nathaniel isn’t that act.
On paper, Shiane Hawke performing “Crazy” shouldn’t be that different then “Mercy” which Shiane blew out of the park. Well that is where Natalie went wrong, I understand mentoring someone like Shiane is a difficult thing, the girl is clearly talented, but if given the wrong song her glory belt sounds way more like a wail then a some noise a human can make. Shiane is too young for this competition. 14. 14. Natalie if you wanted someone more polished you should’ve chosen Morgan, Vendulka, or Bella Hunter. The song didn’t work because there was a stage show going on around her and she was consumed by it, and when she managed to steal the attention it was because she was more wailing then singing. I honestly don’t know what Natalie was thinking when she chose Shiane, who clearly isn’t ready for this competition, give her a year or two and this could be a different story, but she is just so young.
I am not surprised Samantha is here by any means, sure she sang great, but she is older and female, but not so much older that she could get the Mary Byrne vote, and she is far too attractive to be getting any sympathy votes. So that is why she is here and why I last week in my pre-performance prediction put Samantha as my twelfth place finisher. Adil on the other hand was a bit of surprise, it could’ve been anyone in my mind for different reasons: Nathaniel, Shiane, Bella, Jason, Fourtunate, Justin, Josh, What About Tonight, but I guess in the battle of cute boys, Adil just wasn’t up to snuff even though he gave a better vocal then some of the people I just mentioned.
I think the judges made the right decision based on the final showdown performance, but honestly overall if I had been given a vote I would have voted off Samantha, strictly based on the fact that I believe Adil has more X Factor and could have the potential to blow up if the series went the right way for him, but I don’t, so he left. Now that Samantha is given another chance, she best step it up on the connection with the audience if she hopes to stay out of the bottom 2 next week.
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